Help! They?re stealing our vowels

Skeptical as we are, we are only willing to take very few things for certain: The first one is that God is indeed Greek — especially when our national team takes on a foreign squad. The second is that although there are no superior and inferior people, we still are superior to immigrants (that is what 63 percent said in a recent survey). In other words, we are the Superior People.

A third conviction is that the Greek language: 1)is the world?s most ancient and rich language (some people like to count each verb type separately and then claim that the Greek language ?numbers millions of words?); 2) carries secret meanings; 3) is the only musical language; 4) has a superior logical structure (hence Bill Gates?s supposed love for it); and, 5)has appeared on UFOs (the letter epsilon), as well as the planet Mars.

To be sure, it?s not just the laws of nature but also of politics: Led by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger?s infamous statement on Greece (detail: he never really made the statement), hordes of Greece-haters, Zionists, Masons, communists, Quakers, Illuminati, Bilderbergers and other lowlifes are conspiring to take away from us the most precious thing we own: our language. It?s true, you can hear it on radio and TV channels with foreign names.

So the new one is that they are trying to steal our holy vowels away from us. Or this is what a teacher thought, a teacher who was unable to tell the difference between sounds and letters, although it was something she was taught at a younger age. The news is spread by the populist blogs and the yellow press. It?s finally broadcast by journalists whose only weapon is the deepest conviction that they know everything. ND veteran Vyron Polydoras went as far as raising the issue in Parliament.

As it happened, some 140 linguists beg to differ, and this is why they published a letter to counter the storm of illiterate nationalism. In their letter, they claimed what scientists have long argued: Writing in a language is one thing, while speaking it is quite another; Ancient Greek has seven vowels whereas Modern Greek has five after prosody was lost. The linguists were right to reject the stolen vowel allegation as ridiculous.

But all that makes little difference in a country that continues to treat as a serious politician (and lettered person) somebody who as a deputy minister had his ministry?s signs changed into the traditional polytonic system so he could feel closer to Socrates. It?s besides the point that Socrates knew little of accents and aspirates since they did not exist at his time.

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